ANZAC Day at Gallipoli 2005 - Tour Review - Web Blog - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

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ANZAC Day at Gallipoli 2005 - Tour Review

I was a virgin for 2 reasons before this trip.
1: I had never been to Turkey &
2: I had never been to anything with the Fanatics.

I sit here pondering the trip that started just over a week ago, what a cracker. It is safe to say the thirst has been quenched, and I will be doing both things again.

Let me mention one example of why this was a humdinger of a tour. Our five day tour finished on the Tuesday morning but how often do all the people from the tour want to meet up again the night after the tour has finished and smack it up until all hours of the morning again?

Ok, so what made this tour so good you ask? There were a lot of ingredients….. of course some of these ingredients need to remain the “secret herbs’n’spices” if you will (what happens on tour stays on tour), but some of the ingredients can be revealed in this recipe for success.

On the first night we all met in the lobby to collect our FANATICS merchandise and itineraries for the week. Livers were in reasonable condition and there were no jackhammers inside our head. Men and women from different backgrounds coming together as one to represent the FANATICS.

It did not take long for festivities to start. On top of the roof and in the bar of the Sultan Hotel were the first scene for the FANATICS to cut loose. From quiet drinks on the roof to belly dancing in the nightclub below, the first night had it all. The belly dancing was a big hit, especially with most of the lads of the Sultan Nightclub. There was also some belly dancing of the other kind, but this dancer was about 40 kg’s heavier and of the opposite sex.

Everyone started to get to know each other more as the EFES and RAKI were flowing in all directions. A sensational first night for the tour, but this proved only to be the warm-up for the rest of the tour.

As I woke up the next morning I faced a couple of dilemmas. The toilet in our room was broken, and if that wasn’t bad enough, a jackhammer was operating on the inside and outside of my head. The other was that I didn’t know where the monkey who had left its droppings in my mouth overnight was. As I headed down to the lobby at 8 in the AM, I was relieved to find that I was not the only victim of that monkey.

What a site, yellow shirts a plenty, yet eyes closed because those very yellow shirts were not something that everyone’s eyes could adjust to that early in the morning. As people began to reminisce about the previous night, Jengis our fearless travel guide got us all on the way to looking the sites of Istanbul. The Blue Mosque and Saint Sofia being highlights for most.

Tour bonding between the 5 day tour, the 7 day tour and the 10 day tours began at approximately 4:30 pm that afternoon. This was the first time during the trip that everyone was together. The occasion? The Friendship Cup between the FANATICS ANZAC XI and Cankurtaran FC. In European fashion, the Turkish supporters cleaned up with the drums and songs.

However, when it came to sledging, singing famous songs from Australian ads (Happy Little Vegemites & Cottee’s theme song) and sinking the local brew, the Turks never came close.

For the record, I am certainly not knocking Stevo’s performance on the drums, Stevo we were all a big fan.

In true Aussie spirit, the FANATICS boys were spurred on by this support and came from 3 goals behind to snatch a late 3-3 draw. A faultless display in the penalty shoot-out handed the FANATICS team the inaugural Turk-ANZAC Friendship Cup.

On the field it was nothing short of blood, sweat and tears…..(ok that is a bit of an exaggeration with the blood, but the grog from the night before was evident in their sweat and tears). Off the field it was a laugh-a-second, jovial atmosphere. There was this sense that no matter which tour you were on, this trip was going to be a cracker and we hadn’t even spent 24 hours together yet. And it wouldn’t be complete without having a game of footy afterwards, with both the yellow and red mighty Sherrin present.

The bus lead us onto our accommodation for the night and those who still had a bit of life in them stayed in the lobby and had some drinks. As jokes were told and footage from the football game watched, some people turned in early, wanting to get as much sleep as they could for the expected highlight and reason for coming on this tour….ANZAC COVE. Little did we know that this would be the last sleep most people would get for close to about 30 hours.

Jengis our tour guide was filling us full of facts. Most of us were just staring in amazement. The laughing and joking which had been evident on the whole tour so far was starting to die down a bit, we were at ANZAC Cove.

This was obviously a highlight of the trip for me, but as I reflect on it now, there were so many different emotions felt within a couple of hours. This was a place which we were educated about from our early years of schooling. This was a place that we read about in the papers when Autumn was just starting to kick in at home. I had always wondered how I would react if I ever got to visit ANZAC Cove, and now that I was here, I understood that there was no right or wrong way to react.

As we saw the different monuments, graves, memorials, and statues, realisation of just how many lives were lost at this sacred place was starting to sink in. It was also pleasant to see the different sides of ANZAC Cove, through the eyes of the New Zealanders and the Turks. As I gazed around, a lot of people were just enjoying their own personal time. Their own pilgrimage to ANZAC Cove was being fulfilled and now it was just a time to stop, reflect and think.

For me it hit home when I saw the tombstone of Private A Mummery. He is not someone who was written about in textbooks, or someone with the fame of John Simpson Kirkpatrick, but he was 17.

The lead-up to the dawn service was a buzz. Everyone was in brilliant spirits, and they were eager for the night ahead. The sunset was breathtaking and the Sphinx was lit up in the most amazing colours. Sleep was an option, but not one that many people took.

Songs were sung, cards were played and stories were told. Interviews were being carried out by Disco, interviews with channel 7, interviews with Tracy Grimshaw from Today….Disco gets around. He was so proud of us all for the fact that at the start of the tour it was decided it was going to be a ‘dry’ event, and everyone stuck to that. There was no need to drink at ANZAC Cove, so we didn’t. Other tours did, we didn’t. The FANATICS know how to party and have a good time, but we also understand respect.

As expected the Dawn Service was great. To be honest, words do it no justice. This was something that 20,000 people were looking forward to, and it delivered. I don’t want to talk about it too much though because I feel this and the Lone Pine services are so unique to the individual. By saying it was the highlight of the trip and that it was a truly special moment will be enough for people to draw their own conclusions.

If sleeping at ANZAC Cove was optional, sleeping on the bus on the way back to Istanbul was a must. Bodies were spent and minds exhausted. Once back in Istanbul (5 day tour), we meant to go to bed….Yeah right. A herd of 1000 wild horses couldn’t pull us away from a pub, so as we all freshened up, Disco went on a recon mission to find an appropriate place to enjoy some EFES and RAKI.

When 40 of us stumbled through the door of a pub that had all of 2 and a half people in it already, they were not expecting the display of Aussie culture we gave them. Limbo, striptease, two-up, cheerleading, swimming on the floor, Thai karaoke, consumption of bulk piss, singing, chanting, line-dancing, hugging, kissing and…wait for it…the HOKEY POKEY. “What do we think of Aussies…..we’re alright” In the midst of all this partying, Dan had to leave us at 02:00 to go straight to the airport, what a sterling effort from Dan. Those who were left proceeded to the hotel lobby at 3 AM. More drinks were consumed.

As I left the Hotel Lobby with Glen and Jeremy at 5:30 in the morning, my hard mattress looked like a dump-truck full of soft white feathers. I turned back and saw bodies still consuming booze and sharing stories….This went on till the sun came up. The only sleep most of us got was on the bus trip from Gallipoli to Istanbul.

After we checked out the tour was officially over but some of us still enjoyed the sites of Istanbul as others flew home. Trips to the Grand Bazaar and Cemberlita’s bath-house were enjoyed. As I mentioned, we all met up gradually during the night and smacked it up once more. As I passed out in the taxi on the way to the airport, I am sure I was dreaming of how this was a highlight in my life.

Thanks to all from the Fanatics for a great time. Big thanks to Disco…what a smooth tour you provided us with. Other tour groups were quite envious.

There were so many highlights but I will leave you with my top ten. These can be debated and argued till the cows come home, but this is my personal opinion. A lot of these only happened on the “5 day tour” so my apologies to the other tours, I am sure you all have your own highlight reel. What a way to meet new friends and experience new cultures. Thanks to everyone who made this such a memorable and enjoyable experience for yours truly.

10. Seeing the sites of Istanbul (Blue Mosque, Cemberlitas, Saint Sofia and the Grand Bazaar)

9. Jeremy falling 5 feet onto the concrete grandstand at the football

8. Dan pulling up stumps at 02:00 pissed as...only to then proceed to the airport to fly home.

7. Treggers and Shae on the closing night, your bodies are not supposed to do what theirs did at the pub.

6. Jengis sculling his beer at the pub, took close to 2 minutes but he did it….”What do we think of Jengis…He’s alright”

5. Susie (Madame` Butterfly) pulling out her Thai version of Ice Ice Baby.

4. The football match – An afternoon of cheering, boozing and winning.

3. The last night of the tour. Who else does the hokey pokey as their closing song?

2. Meeting new and wonderful people

1. ANZAC Cove – Say no more.

I didn’t want to be bias and put my ‘Bring it On’ routine on the hills of ANZAC Cove on the afternoon before the dawn service in the Top 10 but I thought that was a bit of alright.

Thanks again,

Liam Hackwood (5 day tour)
Mon 02/05/2005 Liam Hackwood 513 views

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